Spidey Gets Sick
Sure enough, the poor little spider plant has a scale infestation. Scales are tiny parasitic insects of the order Hemiptera, which also includes aphids and mealybugs. The males have wings and die after a day or two. They reproduce but never feed. Females attach themselves to a plant and secrete a waxy coating. There are thousands of species of scale; all I know about these is that they are brown and presumably female.
My choices are three. Throw the plant out and buy a new, healthy one; drench it with insecticide; or spray it with one of a variety of more natural solutions.
I'm not really into killing things, I'm poor, and the plant has sentimental value, having been given to me by a friend. So I'm not going to throw it out. I'm not really into strong, carcinogenic chemicals, I'm poor, and I hate to run errands. So I'm not going to buy any insecticide. That leaves going natural.
The other day I hosed down the plant to loosen and soften the scales. Then I used a very small paintbrush to remove most of them. The plant is looking lovely.
I'm going to follow up the treatment with weekly washings, maybe with a little soap or alcohol added to the water. Meanwhile, the "honeydew," as the sticky scale secretion is called, has virtually been eliminated. And Spidey is allowed back in the bathroom.